About this Blog

The Loose Nukes is an attempt (by people who should probably be under 24 hour supervised psychiatric care) to bring attention to somewhat serious issues like nuclear weapons, militarism and other seemingly random, unrelated issues through vain attempts at social satire and other futile gestures of total contempt for a fading empire that continues to employ nuclear weapons, the ultimate instruments of an erectile dysfunctional national security state, as instruments of foreign policy. OK, you probably get the idea by now. We are obsessed by run-on sentences, peace and justice, having fun, and don't know when to quit. At any rate, we don't think nuclear weapons are a very good idea, and are most definitely unhealthy for living things. We also think the folks running this Empire should just get over it.

And now the NOT SO FINE PRINT: Read further at your own risk... and remember, DON'T PANIC; this is all SATIRE at its worst (or best, depending on one's mental state)! And some of the stuff in here is even true!!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Government hires peace activists to test nuclear security

A group of peace activists has received a rare contract with the U.S. government to test security at nuclear installations around the country.

The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced that it has entered into a contract with a newly established security firm for testing the security of the nation's nuclear weapons infrastructure.

The group, calling itself Isaiah's Investigators (II), was recently established by a consortium of Plowshares activists from around the country.  No articles of incorporation were found in the public records.

Operatives from II will make unannounced incursions into any of the eight facilities, including three national laboratories, that make up the nation's nuclear security enterprise.  Findings based on their incursions will be used to improve security at each facility, ensuring the safety and security of the nation's nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons materials.

When asked about the seemingly odd nature of such a company engaging in this line of work, company spokesperson William "Bix" Bichsel, a Jesuit priest, spoke from II's headquarters at the Tacoma Catholic Worker in Washington State.  "Well, it's really not such a stretch.  You see... we've got more experience doing this sort of thing than anyone in the government.  Our staff has decades of collective experience in this line of work.  And we do it well.  I think our record speaks for itself."

Bichsel, at 84 years old, is not the only octogenarian on II's staff, while the youngest member is 57.  When asked whether there was any concern about the age of the workforce at II, an NNSA spokesperson, who asked not to be named, said that the NNSA does not discriminate in any way based on age, sex or race.  "I've read dozens of reports of these people's activities, and they are darned good at what they do.  There is no question about their ability to get the job done.  They run circles around any government agency charged with this kind of task."

(from left) II founders Crane, Greenwald, Montgomery, Kelly & Bichsel
Susan Crane, who coordinates Human Resources for II, was asked about hiring practices at the company.  " We don't hire per se, although we're very selective in our screening process.  We thoroughly review each applicant's history.  We look for people with multiple felonies; a high recidivism rate is a plus.  And, of course we look at the specific type of actions in which they have been involved.  We like to think of II as more of a community than a company."

When pressed for examples, Crane described the histories of a number of current employees.   She, herself, has a long history of Plowshares actions.  Her most recent action, along with Bichsel, Lynne Greenwald, Steve Kelly and Anne Montgomery, was an incursion into the Strategic Weapons Facility, Pacific at the Bangor Trident Base in 2009.  Crane, Kelly and Greenwald are all in their 60s.  Montgomery, an ex officio member of the staff in her 80s (and a Catholic nun), is also qualified in aquatic operations.  Years ago, at the age of 62, Montgomery climbed up onto a Trident ballistic missile submarine at Groton, Connecticut.

Three new members recently joined the staff at II.  Megan Rice (82), also a nun, Michael Walli (63) and Greg Boertje-Obed (57) engaged in a daring pre-dawn incursion deep into the Oak Ridge Y-12 Nuclear facility on July 28, 2012.  All three reached the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility (HEUMF), one of the most high security facilities in the nation .  They were able to spray paint messages on the walls and tie crime scene tape to the facility before being detected.

Newest members of II, Walli, Rice and Obed
Bichsel described the company operations as "very egalitarian."  Company operative Steve Kelly, whose whereabouts are currently unknown, spoke by cell phone describing the decision making process.  "We all sit together, talk, and listen to each other.  It's a very respectful and organic process in which we each enter into a deep process of discernment, and sooner or later we come to a consensus.  Then the planning begins.  I think our previous actions speak well to our capabilities."

Kelly's extraordinary discipline is renowned.  Also a Jesuit, he once spent nearly 15 months mastering the art of solitary confinement.  Kelly also conducts regular yoga sessions to help the staff stay centered and be physically prepared for the rigors of incursions into high security facilities that can take hours and involve cutting fences and long cross-country treks.

Company strategist Rice was asked if there are plans to expand operations internationally.  "Well, that's an intriguing question.  There are some wonderful, talented Plowshares activists in other parts of the world.  It would be a great opportunity to work with our brothers and sisters in so many other parts of the world, such as England, Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia... oh, just imagine the possibilities."

Asked about the company's long-term prospects, Greenwald said, "Oh, rest assured that we're serious about our work.  With current U.S. nuclear weapons policies and the continuing buildup of the nation's nuclear weapons infrastructure, we aren't going away anytime soon.  We're in this for the long haul. You might say this is our retirement plan."

When asked if the Navy and Air Force plan to contract with II to test security at military nuclear weapons installations a Pentagon spokesperson, who asked not to be named would only say that "I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons at any U.S. military installation."

When asked what benefits are included in II's employment package, Bichsel smiled and said "...well, you might say the benefits come after our work here is done.  We're certainly not in it for the money."

OKAY!!!  You've hopefully figured this one out by now, if not after reading the first paragraph.  That being said, these people really are pros, and they put their hearts and souls into the good work of turning swords into plowshares in the best tradition of the Plowshares movement.  And they really have put the security of the nations nuclear weapons facilities to the test, even though that was not their purpose.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Parachute Plowshares fails to deploy

Wannabe Plowshares skydivers were blown off course and landed on a  remote section of a U.S. ballistic missile submarine installation in Georgia, the Florida Times-Union reported on Tuesday.

The two parachutists were aiming to land on a Trident ballistic missile submarine after jumping out of plane operated by a nearby skydiving company. They ended up landing instead on a baseball diamond at the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay while Boomer Intramural Baseball Championship was in progress.

The skydivers were detained by Navy authorities while their identities were ascertained.

"They said one was a naturalized citizen and one was not a U.S. citizen and (didn't have) a passport," according to a conversation with Navy officials.

The Navy let the individuals go after their identities were confirmed and it was determined that they were not genuine Plowshares activists.

The two individuals involved did not carry any of the items normally attributed to Plowshares activists. A sack of equipment they had accidentally left on the aircraft was recovered by Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) personnel.

Inside the sack was a ball peen hammer, two vials of what was later determined to be red food coloring, and a banner reading "Go Bulldogs!"  The Bulldogs are the athletic teams of the University of Georgia.

An unnamed local peace activist said of the botched Plowshares action that Plowshares activists always use claw hammers - not ball peen hammers - as a symbol of hammering "swords into plowshares."  The also carry their own blood, symbolic of their willingness to shed their blood so that others may live.  As for the banner, the activists shrugged and said, "Go figure.  I'm a Quakers fan myself."

Kings Bay is the East Coast home port for U.S. submarines that carry nuclear-tipped Trident missiles.

"They definitely don't want people landing on their military installation. They were very stern with us," said the pilot of the aircraft, who was also detained and questioned by Naval Criminal Investigative Service staff.

However, the service was sympathetic to the fact that an "act of God" drove the parachutists off course, she said (Terry Dickson, Florida Times-Union, Aug. 14).

As "acts of God" go, authentic Plowshares actions are definitely "Godly acts," according to longtime Plowshares activist Sr. Anne Montgomery who once climbed aboard the USS Pennsylvania, a Trident submarine (at the age of 62).  "When Plowshares activists make up their hearts and minds about an action, the spirit certainly guides them to their destination," said Montgomery.  "This is our work... to hasten the disarming of these horrific weapons, and to heed the prophet Isaiah's admonition to turn swords into plowshares.  Plowshares activists are focused and centered on a greater good. That being said, the Navy, and especially Federal prosecutors, have never been sympathetic to our Godly Plowshares actions."

Since the incursion by the errant skydivers, officials at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay have re-evaluated security measures at the base.  They plan to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) equipped with air to air missiles as a protective measure and have declared a no-fly-zone within five nautical miles of the base.


Endnote: Thanks to Global Security Newswire for the article butchered to make this fake article: Skydivers Accidentally Touch Down on U.S. Ballistic Missile Submarine Site, August 14, 2012, http://www.nti.rsvp1.com/gsn/article/two-skydivers-accidentally-touch-down-ballistic-missile-submarine-site/?mgh=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nti.org&mgf=1  Yes, skydivers really did "accidentally" land at the Kings Bay sub base. You separate the fact from fiction.  And most of all, apologies to sr. Anne Montgomery for implicating her (albeit falsely) in this post.  She did not provide the quotes attributed to her.